Love, Lies (2016 film)
Love, Lies (Korean: 해어화; Hanja: 解語花; RR: Hae-eohwa) is 2016 South Korean period drama film directed by Park Heung-sik, reuniting The Beauty Inside co-stars Han Hyo-joo, Chun Woo-hee and Yoo Yeon-seok. The story takes place in 1943, during the Imperial Japanese occupation of Korea. In the film, best friends Jung So-yul (Han Hyo-joo) and Seo Yeon-hee (Chun Woo-hee) are two of the last remaining gisaeng. Although they enjoy pop music, they are committed to singing jeongga, or classical Korean songs. So-yul's life falls apart when her lover, pop music producer Kim Yoon-woo (Yoo Yeon-seok), falls in love with Yeon-hee and helps her debut as a pop singer. The story follows So-yul's downward spiral as she is consumed by uncontrollable jealousy.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Park Heung-sik|
|Produced by||Park Sun-jin|
|Music by||Lee Byung-hoon|
|Distributed by||Lotte Entertainment|
|Box office||US$3.4 million (South Korea)|
In Imperial Japanese-occupied Korea, Jung So-yul is a gisaeng-in-training at one of the last remaining gwonbeon, learning to sing jeongga, the classical songs of Korea's upper class. Jung is the daughter of a famous gisaeng, who is also the institution's headmistress. Seo Yeon-hee arrives at the school after she is sold by her father, who cannot take care of her. The young girls become best friends, and are two of the best students in the school. They both enjoy the popular songs of the day, but promise each other to keep their dignity as the only gisaeng who sing jeongga. So-yul's natural talent and beauty make her the center of attention, and she receives invitations from important people, including the Japanese chief of police.
One day in 1943, So-yul meets the top pop songwriter, Kim Yoon-woo, and the two fall in love. Yoon-woo asks So-yul to sing a song he is writing to encourage the Korean people suffering under Imperial Japanese rule. However, things begins to fall apart when he hears Yeon-hee sing and becomes mesmerized by her voice. Yoon-woo writes the song for Yeon-hee, and encourages her to leave the gwonbeon so he can help her become a pop singer, because pop songs speak more to the common people instead of just the upper class. Yeon-hee takes his advice, and So-yul feels betrayed. Fueled by jealousy, So-yul attempts to regain what she believes her friend stole from her, destroying the lives of those around her, and ultimately, herself.
- Han Hyo-joo as Jung So-yul
- Chun Woo-hee as Seo Yeon-hee
- Yoo Yeon-seok as Kim Yoon-woo
- Park Sung-woong as Police Chief
- Jang Young-nam as San-wol
- Lee Han-wi as Purser
- Ryu Hye-young as Kim Ok-hyang
- Jang In-sup as Hong-seok
- Kim Su-an as young Jung So-yul
- Hiromitsu Takeda as Military police
- Lee Kyu-jung as Sampae student 1
- Hwang Byeong-guk as Councilor
- Son Seong-chan as Japanese army general
- Cha Ji-yeon as Lee Nan-young
- Kim Young-min as Producer
Production and releaseEdit
Filming began on June 21, 2015 and finished on October 17. The three lead actors had previously worked together on the 2015 film The Beauty Inside. Han Hyo-joo accepted the role of So-yul because Love, Lies is female-dominated, unlike most recent successful Korean films. She also wanted to try a more challenging role, as this is the first time she played an antagonist. To prepare for the role, she learned Japanese, dancing, and traditional Korean songs.
The film was launched in October 2015 at Busan International Film Festival's Asian Film Market. In March 2016, it was promoted at Hong Kong International Film & TV Market, securing distribution deals in Japan (KlockWorx), Taiwan (KBro Media) and the Philippines (Viva Communications). The VIP premiere was held on April 11, 2016 at Lotte Cinema in Songpa-gu, Seoul, and it premiered nationwide on April 13. It opened in fifth place at the box office, with 133,563 tickets sold across 572 screens. The film earned US$1.67 million in a five-day period (Wednesday to Sunday).
Rumy Doo of The Korea Herald called the film "meticulously made-up" and pointed to its painstaking recreation of 1940s Seoul (then called Gyeongseong). Doo said Han Hyo-joo's acting is "somewhat strained" in the beginning of the film, but her portrayal of a jealous, wronged woman is more convincing and "painfully human". Jin Eun-soo of the Korea JoongAng Daily called the film a "feast for the eyes and ears", praising the actors' musical talent, the costume design, and the reconstruction of 1940s Seoul. Yun Suh-young of The Korea Times also praised the actors' musical performance.
Shim Sun-ah of Yonhap News Agency gave the film a more mixed review. She praised Han Hyo-joo and Chun Woo-hee's "brilliant performances", but said Chun's singing was not good enough to be believable for a character with "mesmerizing talent". Shim also disliked So-yul's "very unnatural" makeup as an elderly woman. According to Shim, the film's greatest weakness is the storyline, because it is vague about how Yoon-woo's love shifts from So-yul to Yeon-hee, and why Yeon-hee feels no remorse for taking her best friend's lover. Shim said the film's greatest strength is its "immaculate period reconstruction", with accurate sets, props, costumes and music.
Highlighted in the film is the conflict between tradition and modernity, illustrated by the classical jeongga and early Korean pop music (later known as trot). At a press junket for the film, director Park Heung-sik explained how he chose the film's setting: "The 1940s was a doomed period for Koreans ... But it was also a period when Korean pop first emerged and experienced its golden age. It was a good period to show the conflict between two female gisaeng who wanted to become top singers." Park concentrated on how So-yul loses herself through jealousy, the "universal emotion", and later finds herself and regrets her past. He said the film can be summed up by the phrase, "Why didn't I know that before, if it was so good".
Another theme in the film is the duality that was expected of gisaeng, who were well-educated in the arts but treated as socially inferior, and ultimately existed for men's pleasure. The film's Korean title literally means "flowers that understand words" or "a flower that can talk", referring to gisaeng. This is explained by So-yul's mother in the film: "Gisaeng are like flowers that can understand human speech...We're flowers meant to be picked by men who grant our wishes".
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- Shim Sun-ah (April 7, 2016). "(Yonhap Interview) Han Hyo-joo: My greed as actress drove me to choose 'Love, Lies'". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- Shim Sun-ah (April 5, 2016). "(Movie Review) 'Love, Lies': immaculate period reconstruction of 40s Seoul". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- Doo, Rumy (April 6, 2016). "[Herald review] One woman's jealousy in 'Love, Lies'". The Korea Herald. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
- Jin Eun-soo (April 8, 2016). "Tracing the birth of Korean pop". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
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